Tricopter Control Setup Needed - RC Groups
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Feb 02, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Tricopter Control Setup Needed

So as the story goes i was going to build a quadcopter but wile waiting for the parts to come i thought about how I was going to use the quadcoper for FPV. Then it occured to me a tricopter has one less motor so that means a bit longer flight time! Then after some research i learned that a tricopter turns better. So i need some help with the the hobbyking KK2 board i will be using. What do you think are the best setting to use to keep the thing moderatly stable and still be able to fly very fast because if i want to get into a situation i want to get out of it fast. The neiborhood i live in isnt the greatest and i would like to be able to outrun trouble. Finely i want to use two counter rotating props on the front and one normal in the rear (or visaversa) so the tri copter will stay level and not have one arm lower thenthe other but can the KK2 board do that? Thanks in advance!
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Feb 02, 2013, 06:56 PM
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Yes the kk board can do that and plenty other setups as well.
Download the firmware from here.
Feb 02, 2013, 08:06 PM
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Would this be in the digital setup feature of the kk2 board because i didn't buy the computer interface.
Feb 02, 2013, 10:04 PM
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The above link is for a plain KK board firmware. With the kk2 you should be able to configure it as tricopter in the menus.
Feb 02, 2013, 11:07 PM
Registered User
Alright thanks, also for the yaw servo connect to a motor output or what?
Feb 02, 2013, 11:32 PM
figuring it out...sort of!
goodhumormarc's Avatar
Originally Posted by h710railfan
Alright thanks, also for the yaw servo connect to a motor output or what?
servo goes to M4
Feb 03, 2013, 08:39 AM
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Thanks, now I know everthing i need to except some setting for flying.
Feb 03, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Hi Railfan,

Not sure if you were aware, but when you first power on the KK2, it will show the firmware version. I just received mine last week and it came wit 1.2. The latest that people seem to like the best are 1.4 and 1.5. The difference is that 1.4 has a debug menu and 1.5 will control a camera gimbal to keep it stable while the copter maneuvers.

1.2's self level function doesn't work right so you may want to flash it up to 1.4 or 1.5 (besides debug and camera gimbal they are equal).

Two great threads here in multicopter electronics - one on the KK2 started by the guy who designed it (CaptainKuk), how to set it up, and lots of q&a, and another by LazyZero on easy programming of the Atmel micro's flash - but you will need a programmer and be aware if you do flash, pin 1 on the connector is along the same edge of the board as the four push buttons and you can brick the KK2 if you try to flash it in circuit. All ESCs must be disconnected.

Edited to fix spelling...
Last edited by RobertSF; Feb 03, 2013 at 02:50 PM.
Feb 03, 2013, 12:22 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the info! I hope mine doesnt come with 1.2 because i dont want to have to connect it to a computer. What is flashing anyways? I get the idea for the KK2 board but i hear people talking about flashing ESC's whats that mean or do?
Feb 03, 2013, 01:28 PM
Registered User
Flashing ESCs is a whole 'nuther topic but is really doing the same thing as flashing the KK2 board.

Flashing refers to loading firmware into the microcontroller's program area that customizes the micro to do whatever task the designer has chosen in some particular circuit. In this case, the different versions of CaptainKuK's firmware fix errors or give extra functionality.

But it does take a little bit of hardware to talk to the micro on the KK2 board and download whichever version of firmware someone wants to use. A number of vendors have a small USB board for about ten dollars. If you decide you want to try it, check out LazyZero's thread and also the ones about flashing the ESCs because as luck would have it, they also have programmable microcontrollers in them too.

But about the ESCs, you'll see mention of SimonK firmware but also about programming them - both flashing and also with programming cards.

The thing is that the ESCs were originally designed for electric model planes and such. They have features that make them work great in planes and helicopters but can cause crashes in multirotor craft. So, the SimonK firmware changes how they run to where they work correctly in multirotors. You can also just program the regular ESCs to work correctly but just know that there are a number of things that you need to configure appropriately. If you don't, your multi will be hard to control or may crash. You can think of the SimonK firmware as being a regular ESC with everything properly configured for multis.

It seems like a lot of people use stock ESCs and program them appropriately for multirotor craft. A lot reprogram them with SimonK firmware and use them that way. And vendors now sell ESCs pre-programmed with SimonK firmware.

One thing to know, though, is that Atmel controllers used to be the only micro used in the ESCs (I think) and that meant you could use the same setup to flash the ESCs yourself with the exception of a fixture or soldering a few wires. Now there are other micros being used and I don't think the same Atmel programmer can be used on them but check the ESC programming thread to make sure. The are spreadsheets that list all the capabilities, micro, etc, linked to in that thread.

One last thing if you also didn't already know is that the M1 connector is separate and special from the M2-M8 connectors. The KK2 board gets its power from M1. If you use an ESC with a BEC, one connects there. With a tricopter, or if you use servos for stuff like camera gimbals, those will plug into the other M connectors. Servos will appear dead because there is no power supplied to that M2-M8 connector bus. You need another BEC in there (whether from an ESC or separate BEC) to be able to supply power to servos.

Also, some say the best practice is not to power the KK2 from an ESC BEC due to possible additional heating changing the operating characteristics of the ESC since in multis, you really want all ESCs behaving exactly the same.

Hope that helps. ;-)
Feb 03, 2013, 02:02 PM
Registered User
Thanks now i have everything i need to know! I found out how to set settings in another thread. So for the servo i just take its red wire and connect it to the red wire of one of the M2 or M3's ESC's red wire?
Feb 03, 2013, 02:48 PM
Registered User
Hey Railfan,

No offense intended, but I think you'll find you have a lot more to learn. ;-) That's the fun of this stuff! I know I do. I'm still waiting on a couple of parts to even begin the assembly of my tricopter (FPVManuals V1.2) so I'm a newbie here too.

If your ESCs have battery eliminator circuits, you can just leave one ESC connector stock to where it connects the red (middle) wire to the M2-M8 bus. Then when you plug in your yaw servo, the connection is made. It's electrically the same as you said but easier. ;-)

As yet another aside, if your ESCs have switching power supplies for their BEC, you aren't supposed to plug more than one into the M2-M8 bus as they will fight.

The manual for the KK2 says it is OK to plug more than one BEC-equipped ESC into that bus if they are linear BECs, but there is another thread here ( that says you shouldn't have multiple linear BECs connected together. Leaving the BEC wire intact is OK on just one of the M2-M8 ESCs but apparently best practice is to not connect more than one BEC in any circuit. But for tricopters, you need to have a power source (ESC BEC, standalone BEC, or battery) in the M1 connector and another in one of the M2-M8 connectors to supply power for the yaw servo.

For the BECs, you don't use, that same link suggests releasing the red wire connector from the connector housing and putting some heat shrink over it to keep it from shorting against anything.
Feb 03, 2013, 05:05 PM
Registered User
Thats makes more sence, basicly M2-M8 have positive wired in series then and yes i do have alot to learn , i have been flying airplanes for 5 years but thy were all homemade fomies that i ussully crash, but i have very little understanding on KV and things. Im starting to pick up on what it all means tho!

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